Panaji, Nov 30 (IANS): Alleging that Art and Culture Minister Govind Gaude has insulted women from the fields of art, culture and literature over the issue of conferring state awards, noted female actors in Goa have demanded to drop him from the Cabinet.
Gaude invited the wrath of the people after the announcement of the names of the 12 recipients of the prestigious Goa State Cultural Awards, with all them being male.
Filmmaker-actor Jyoti Kunkolienkar along with acclaimed actor Suchita Narvekar and activist Auda Viegas on Wednesday addressed a press conference demanding to drop Gaude from the Cabinet for 'insulting' women.
"Initially, we reacted by expressing what we felt over this issue. Subsequently, the minister (countering us) reacted to our statement and said that there were no ‘capable’ women who would deserve the award. He also questioned whether there is any rule that awards should be given to women,” Kunkolienkar said, questioning whether there is any rule that awards should be given only to men.
She also rubbished the alleged statement of the minister that thousands of applications were received for the awards.
“A maximum of 120 applications can be received. Not more than that,” she said.
“I request Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to come clear over the issue and declare the names of those who had applied for the awards,” she added.
According to Narvekar, Gaude also said that it is not a panchayat election with 33 per cent reservation for women when it comes to deciding on awards.
“We are not asking for 33 per cent reservation for women for state awards. We are speaking on this issue because women too deserve these awards,” Narvekar said.
Narvekar also questioned if there was not a single woman in ‘those thousands of applications’ who could have deserved an award.
“I request Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to drop such a minister who doesn’t know how to respect women. One should not forget that in the past, agitation by women had forced one minister to step down,” Narvekar said, adding that Gaude should not blame them if he is dropped from the Cabinet.
Meanwhile, Gaude had clarified that a selection committee was appointed to confer the awards and the decisions were taken by the panel.
“Awards are given on the basis of merits,” he said.